The Women of Horror Literature - Jennifer Brozek - The Author's Own Words

Jennifer Brozek: a final girl with a sidekick.

I must admit: I have not read a lot of Jennifer's work. But after looking at her extensive list of publications, I clearly should! Her story in Blood Bound Books's Night Terrors III is a clever twist on the classic fairy tale of the child-eating troll under the bridge. Placing it into the modern world, she creates a fascinating character study and expresses real heart within a short span of words. It's a fascinating talent, one that is hard to master. Jennifer's experience in the horror world is extensive, and I think she is someone we can all learn from.

Jennifer has been a freelance author, editor, and tie-in writer for over ten years after leaving her high paying tech job, and she’s never been happier. She keeps a tight schedule on her writing and editing projects and somehow manages to find time to volunteer for several professional writing organizations such as SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. Jennifer's work has twice been nominated for Bram Stoker Awards (Never Let Me Sleep and The Last Days of Salton Academy), and her BattleTech tie-in novel won a Scribe Award. Jennifer is also the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions, and was the managing editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and assistant editor for Apex Book Company. She shares her husband, Jeff, with several cats and often uses him as a sounding board for her story ideas. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com.

Q1. Where does your fascination, passion, and/or love for horror come from, and what sent you on the path to become an author in the horror genre?

The thing about horror stories is that there is a logic them. A truth and a consequence. The monsters, villains, and curses have rules. They are stories where, usually, the heroes can win—even though sometimes it’s a Pyrrhic victory where the terror is defeated but not forever. I tend to enjoy dark stories. That’s why I write them. There really doesn’t need to be any other reason for writing horror stories; I like them. Especially when they take me away from reality.

Q2. What type of horror is your favorite and why? Do you write a lot of it, or do you write in various subgenres, such as romantic horror, bizarro, splatterpunk, supernatural, science fiction, etc.?

There are two types of horror stories I gravitate towards: hidden world and supernatural. I like my horror mystical and not in your face. At least, not at first. This means I flavor a lot of what I write with horror, no matter the genre. I’ve done it all: weird west ghost stories, space opera zombies, modern day cults, hidden invasions, dark fairy tales, and the list goes on. The one thing I haven’t written yet is romantic horror. I’m not ruling it out.

I don’t like to write or read splatterpunk, bizarro, true crime slasher, or anything that is too close to my reality without a supernatural aspect to it. Real life horror is not something I want to delve into. Gore bores me and I don’t really understand bizarro. My mind doesn’t work that way.

Q3. What is your opinion on women in the horror genre? Do you think WiHM is necessary and helpful, or can it create a rift by singling out one type of writer?

I’m of two minds here. Women have always written horror. Most known is Mary Shelley. There were many women who wrote horror before and after her. Yet, they keep being forgotten in favor of male writers. The question becomes: why is it put on women to be remembered for their deeds? (The same can be said of any minority.) I hate the fact that we keep having to have this conversation and point out “Yes, women write X genre. We always have.” Right now, I think it is still helpful and necessary. I live for the day it is not.

Q4. What do you think the future will be within the horror genre, both in general and specific to women? Do you think WiHM will help with that future?

There is a discussion/debate on whether “horror” is a genre or a subgenre. Are vampires horror? Traditionally, yes. But now they are also romance (Twilight), science fiction (Ultraviolet, Underworld), drama (Dark Shadows, original), teen (Lost Boys), and comedy (Fright Night, Warm Bodies).

I can make this same comparison to any type of “horror” subject. Thus, in general, I believe there will always be horror stories with different principal subjects. While monster, aliens, ghosts, serial killers, zombies, etc. will continue their cyclical pattern, horror will always be present.

In specific to women, I believe interest in women storytellers is growing. That the mainstream fans have missed out on a certain sensibility that women horror writers bring to the table. Highlighting them with WiHM does help that interest. I hope that when we look back at “women in horror” we don’t just continue with the same names (Shelley, Jackson, Oates). I hope names like Alyssa Wong, Nuzo Onoh, Mira Grant, and Linda Addison roll off the tongue just as easily.

Q5. Are there any women in the horror entertainment area that you have looked to for guidance? Including authors, actresses, screenwriters, directors, wherever you find inspiration!

I’m inspired by my contemporaries. So many women in the HWA leave me in awe and wanting to do better, to level up to their talent. Mercedes Murdock Yardley, Nicole Cushing, Lucy A. Synder, Lisa Morton, Lee Murray, Seanan McGuire, and so many more. I want to be as good as them when I grow up. All of them.

Q6. Do you have a favorite female character in the horror genre, and what about this character do you identify with?

I have a soft spot for Vision Girl. I love the supernatural aspect of getting visions and I love the mystery they present to be solved. I also like the paradox that sometimes visions are only correct at that specific moment in time and that their visions can change. Vision Girl proves both the future is immutable and changeable.

Q7. Just for fun: are you a token victim, the best friend who might dies, or a final girl?

As I’m the hero of my own story, I’m the final girl. But I’ll do my best to make sure my best friends don’t die.

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